Only 69 days between now and the Chicago Bears’ return to Monday Night Football. Which means if we fast forward 70 days from now, you’ll find us breaking down what happened between the Bears and Seahawks the night before in prime time. Nice, indeed.
- The NFLPA wasn’t going to sit in silence after the league changed its national anthem policy during the offseason. Now, the NFL faces a grievance:
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 10, 2018
- The NFL tried to promote the change as a compromise, but a segment of players have pushed back against a rule being imposed on them, and President Donald Trump has since dissed the NFL for its rule change saying it’s worse than what was previously in place. It’s safe to say no one has been satisfied by the rule that came about and has mucked things up every time it is brought into the realm of discussion.
- On the field, one of the Bears’ opponents believes one of his up-and-coming receivers is primed for a breakout. Giants quarterback Eli Manning tells Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com that second-year receiver Sterling Shepard is “primed for a big year” in 2018. The Giants already had talented pass catchers Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram in tow, but have since added rookie running back Saquon Barkley and left tackle Nate Solder in the offseason. Added protection and the threat of a running game could leave Shepard available to thrive as an option who doesn’t get the bulk of the defense’s attention.
- New York’s other football team has an odd quarterback setup with rookie Sam Darnold representing the future, Josh McCown as a placeholder, and Teddy Bridgewater seemingly left on the outside looking in. Brian Costello of the New York Post writes the ex-Vikings quarterback could play his way into a starting role or onto the trading block if he performs well during training camp. Bridgewater has thrown just two pass attempts since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of 2016 with a gruesome leg injury and was saddled on the bench behind Sam Bradford and Case Keenum during Minnesota’s run to the NFC Championship Game. Considering Bridgewater’s tremendous upside and the lack of high-upside quarterback options available right now, a strong showing this summer could lead to a new opportunity for the 2015 Pro Bowler.
- As a human, I can totally understand where Rams quarterback Jared Goff is coming from when he says he struggled to find an edge as a rookie. Finding external motivating factors isn’t always easy, but I can attest to how they could help push you along when you really need it. Hopefully, the Bears don’t give him any bulletin board material before the two teams square off in Week 14.
- Chicago’s second-half figures to be a difficult one, especially if the final quarter of the schedule features four postseason contenders. Yes, four. I’m including the San Francisco 49ers, whose defensive coordinator is really feeling the buzz. “There’s a lot of momentum going into this (season), and we all feel really good about it,” Robert Saleh said to Joe Fann of the team’s official website. The 49ers are a trendy pick to to be a surprise postseason contender, more so than the Bears if you’d believe it. San Francisco has to hit the road for some early challenges against Minnesota, Kansas City, Green Bay, and the Los Angeles Chargers, but the team rattled off five straight wins to close out the 2017 season and could be primed to go on another strong season-ending run if can tread water early in the season.
- The hype is real, but not real enough for Jimmy Garoppolo to land in the top-5 of Madden NFL’s quarterback ratings. Tom Brady and (ugh) Aaron Rodgers both have 99 overall ratings, followed by Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan rounding out the top-5. The Bears’ first two games this season coming against two of the top three quarterbacks in Madden is a bit jarring, but we’ve known for a while that this schedule would present its fair share of challenges.
- Heck of a find by Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk, who unearthed a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story where Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh referenced Dez Bryant’s non-catch in a playoff game against the Packers in a speech at Marquette University Law School in 2015. Ah, yes. The power of precedent.
- Jordan Heck of the Sporting News has details of domestic, child, and animal assault accusations that have been levied against Bills running back LeSean McCoy via Instagram. McCoy has since responded to the allegations, denying them and calling them “totally baseless and offensive” in a post on Twitter:
— Lesean McCoy (@CutonDime25) July 10, 2018
- And yes, the Bills are reportedly aware of the allegations and are looking into the situation.